A bad night followed by Chemo #7

We have had company in town since last Friday. It was great to see family and I tried to take it easy but of course it was not my usual routine. It was hard to want to do things and not be able to, but of course I was so glad to have everyone in town and do what I could. I managed to take at least one nap every day (some days it was literally passing out but I managed to get to the bed first). It is difficult to have my current energy level – I literally have to plan my days around a single event – going to the store or going out to dinner would be an either/or option. The rest of the day would generally be spent in some sort of lounge mode. Nap, couch, etc.

Yesterday afternoon it really hit me. I took Fletch to OT in the morning and then met the family for brunch. After that I had a massage scheduled. This doesn’t sound like a lot of strenuous activity, but those are 3 things which for me is already a lot. The massage was great, but as soon as I got out of it I knew I needed to head for bed. Which is exactly what I did. I was asleep by 2:00 and woke up after 4:00. It was my headache that woke me up. I was on day 5 of headache and had taken 3 ibuprofen before bed, but it was killing me when I woke. I also had a temp of 99.4. Not good. In addition, I felt like ass. Nothing specific, just whole body feeling crappy, killer headache, please don’t talk to me. AND this was Monday night. WTH? This doesn’t happen on Mondays! Mondays are my good days!!!! I called my nurses and told them what was going on. I spent the entire night in this mode. Got the kids to bed, sat on the couch for a little while, drank a few sips of ginger ale and decided I wasn’t going to throw up yet. I had Eric put a bucket next to the bed and gave him the assignment of coming in to take my temperature at intervals until his bedtime since I have to go to the ER if I get to 100.4. Luckily it stayed down and I just slept.

This morning was lucky number seven. Normal routine, I felt better than last night but not “good”. I saw the doctor this week which was good timing and she thinks I either picked up a virus from someone or got too dehydrated not drinking my normal amount of water – some of the numbers from my CBC showed what could be dehydration. So I got fluid during my treatment along with the regular meds and it made me feel a lot better so I will be on top of my water this week. Here is my run down:

CBC – My numbers are still very good for 7 weeks in. My WBC (white blood cell) count was a little lower than last week, but my RBC (red blood cell) count was slightly higher. The HGB and HCT (proteins that carry RBCs) were higher which she said can indicate dehydration because they get more concentrated. My platelet count is down but still within normal range and MPV (Mean Platelet Count) is the lowest it’s been but only a little below normal levels (9 instead of a low normal of 10). Platelets are what make blood clot and MPV is a measurement of the size of the platelets, so they are not as big as they used to be but still okay. The thing that did stand out to me were in the breakdown of WBC section – my neutrophils were much higher than they have been in the past. They are still in normal range, but at the top of that range. They are normally 40’s-50 but today they were 73.2 (75 being the top of the range). My Absolute Neutrophils were also higher than my normal since that number is used as part of the calculation. From what the nurse told me and my reading, there are many things that could elevate these levels but one of them is a bacterial infection so we will watch for signs of that. She said my counts would go nuts if that happened so we wouldn’t miss it. Hopefully it’s just that I was doing a lot this weekend (fingers crossed).

Skin – Same here – I am still using the healing elements balm on my dry patches and had almost gotten them to go away but then I slacked on my routine and they are back. I will continue to slather them regularly.

The port – I saw my surgeon this week to look at the stitch and guess what? That sucker is permanent. It is a Prolene stitch. It will not dissolve, is apparently bright blue in color and is not infected so we are going to leave it like it is. She said that since I’ll be having my surgery about a month after chemo ends we can take it out then and be done with it. Hooray! I will say again, I am so glad that my doctor is not only “the best breast surgeon”, but she is just fabulous. She could have walked in and said show me the stitch and been gone, but she sat down and talked to me. She wanted to know how the chemo was going, how I was doing, what my thoughts were for surgery, etc. before even thinking about looking at the stitch. I love her. So with this, I will remove the port/stitch from my weekly updates unless I have a problem.

Pain – Headaches have been bad this week. I am hoping it was the dehydration and will be working on keeping a higher fluid intake. 3 quarts minimum is recommended.

Mouth Sores – Happy to report none.

Poop – Happy to report all is normal.

Hair/Scalp – So glad I shaved my head. It has been much less irritated and I am much more comfortable. Hair is still coming out as expected.

Nails – Same here as well, but I have slacked a couple days putting the nail cream on. Must do better.

Nose – Same, same.

Girl Stuff – I am not sure if I mentioned it before, but chemo induces menopause. It stops the ovaries from functioning. I’ve had a few hot flashes in the past few weeks but this week was daily, sometimes 3-4 per day and at night too. When I started treatment, I had been taking the pill but stopped when I got diagnosed. Ironically I had asked the midwife if I had to get a period and she had me taking the pills continuously so there was no break (this started 2 months before I was diagnosed). Once I was diagnosed I stopped taking the pills but never got a period. I have not had one since chemo started and am having hot flashes so signs would point to menopause. Not looking forward to the night sweats.

I think that’s everything from this week. Overall, my Thursday-Friday was not as bad as I had anticipated. Not good, but not as bad as weeks 2 or 4. I did notice that my “good” days don’t seem to be as good as they used to. Hopefully that will come back.

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